UDELL, GMG CLINCH PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE CHAMPIONSHIP AT SONOMA
Following yet another dominant performance in which he led every lap of the weekend, Global Motorsports Group’s (GMG) Alec Udell took a dominant victory during both rounds of the Pirelli World Challenge’s penultimate weekend at Sonoma Raceway. Maximizing his points on the weekend, Udell has managed to build enough of a gap to clinch the GT-Cup championship headed in to the series finale at Laguna Seca raceway, earning his first title in series competition, as well as a landmark first for the GMG organization.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Alec and everyone on this team,” stated GMG team owner James Sofronas. “With Alec’s performance last year, we knew that 2016 could be his year, but you never how a season is going to unfold until it begins, and he’s just been perfect all year. For someone his age, the maturity he’s driven with has been unbelievable. I’m thrilled that we’ll head to one of our home tracks with the championship completely wrapped up, and it means we’ll get to run the finale with a focus on just enjoying the finale. It’s great to add a championship to our long roster of accomplishments within Pirelli World Challenge. We clinched two Manufacturers Championships for Porsche in 2008 and 2009, as well as two runner-up finishes in the GT class by super-close margins in 2009 and 2013, so to add a GT Cup championship to the mix is an excellent feeling. It’s such a testament to our guys. We knew entering this year that our re-commitment to Porsche would be the right move for our company. Developing so many performance products for our street line it seemed an obvious fit, and I think it shows in programs like this where we’ve shown so much speed.”
Continuing a season that had seen 10 victories leading up to the weekend, Alec Udell and the No. 14 Euroworld Motorsports / Panther Pipeline / Amsource Capital Porsche 911 GT3 Cup came in to the festivities knowing that a weekend sweep could clinch his championship, but that a clean weekend would be critical above all else. While the Pirelli World Challenge championship points system rewards race victories, it severely punishes a failure to finish, and both Udell and team knew that a finish was critical above all else.
Taking pole position for Saturday’s Race One, the 20-year old would take the green flag with a calm focus headed in to the opening laps. Quickly establishing himself as the fastest car in class, Alec simply managed his car as the race continued on, building a small but stable gap to second-place Sloan Urry, and never allowing his championship rival to close in. Without any significant challenge, the race would end as it started, with Udell taking yet another victory in his remarkable season.
For Race Two, the trend would continue. The Woodlands, Texas native would immediately jump to the lead from pole position yet again, and never look back as the laps continued. Continuing his championship form throughout the race, Udell would drive in a class of his own as he built a healthy gap over the field behind him, taking his 12th victory of the year and more importantly securing enough points to guarantee his GT Cup championship.
“It’s just been an incredible year,” stated Udell. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of everyone on the team. Neville and all the guys have given me a great car at every race, and of course this was all made possible by the efforts of James and everyone at the team who’ve been amazing to make this whole thing possible. We knew we had a real shot at the championship this year, but to walk away with 12 wins and still one race remaining is beyond what we could have hoped for. Last year we had such a heartbreaking incident that took us out of the championship that this year has more than made up for it. I couldn’t be happier and look forward to closing everything out in Monterey.”
With the series ending in just three weeks, the team will enjoy their time staying in California, with the championship finale occurring just a few hours from their headquarters at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Practice will take place on Friday, October 7, with the race taking place on Sunday, October 9.